CMS issues new Medicare cards starting April 1, 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will mail new Medicare cards beginning on April 1, 2018 through April 1, 2019. The new cards will no longer have a number called Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) that contains the individual’s social security number. In its place a new ID number, called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), will be assigned to each individual by CMS. 

Please note: UnitedHealthcare does not use SSNs or HICNs on our ID cards. The UnitedHealthcare ID cards will not change. 

Beneficiaries that have both Medicare and UnitedHealthcare plans will see the change on their Medicare card, but their UnitedHealthcare card will not change. 

The HICN is used by UnitedHealthcare during coordination of benefits processes with Medicare members who also have UnitedHealthcare coverage. UnitedHealthcare has modified our systems and processes to exchange the HICN with MBI as directed by CMS.  

CMS indicated that they made this decision to address the risk of medical identity theft, safeguard taxpayer dollars and to comply with Section 501 of Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) that mandates the removal of the Social Security Number (SSN)-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) from Medicare cards. Security for Medicare members should be strengthened by using an ID number that does not contain the member’s SSN. 

The New Medicare Card with the MBI 

Impact to Employers

Employers do not need to make any changes unless they capture and use the Medicare HICN for active employees or retirees. If the Employer uses the Medicare HICN, they will need to make changes within their own process or systems. 

Impact to Medicare Beneficiaries

Medicare beneficiaries who have a Medicare card will see the new number used on Medicare-related documents. The new Medicare numbers won’t change Medicare benefits. People with Medicare may start using their new Medicare cards as soon as they get them. 

CMS New Medicare Card Mailing Schedule

CMS will begin mailing new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare in waves by geographic location and other factors. This chart* is an estimate of how the waves will roll out.  Starting in April 2018, people with Medicare will be able to check the status of card mailings in their area on 

Beneficiaries should use the new card once they get it. Beginning January 1, 2020 only the new card will be usable. 


States Included

Cards Mailing


Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

April – June 2018


Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon

April – June 2018


Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin

After June 2018


Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

After June 2018


Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina

After June 2018


Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana,  Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

After June 2018


Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Virgin Islands

After June 2018


*CMS published this chart and may update it as the rollout begins.

For more information, visit the CMS website on the new Medicare card.